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Survivor Journals

Bob of If I Die Before I Wake has invited nine journallers to participate in a Cyber Survivor Adventure.

Every couple of weeks, the group will be issued a "challenge entry". The site will post a excerpt from the challenge entries, as well as the link to the complete entry found on the journaller's own journal site.

After the challenge entry is posted, the nine journallers will vote one of the writers off the site.

The "ousted" journaller will actually remain on the site, but rather than posting further challenge entries, they will act as a judge and commentator.

The first challenge entry has been issued, and can be found at the Survivor Journal website. The actual entries should be completed by
October 1, 2000.

Please take the time to visit, especially once the challenge entries are posted. There is a message board to post your thoughts/comments and also a instant poll where visitors can vote for who they would want to see kicked off the site.

The reasons behind Survivor Journals are simple.

1. To try something new.
2. Increase the interaction of the journal community.
3. The challenge.
4. Increased exposure to all journals involved.

So take a look around, explore all the journals involved.

If you would like to take part in Survivor Journals, Year Two (around Nov/Dec 2000), let Bob know!


November 10, 2000

“Kurfuffle": a state of disorder, flurry, agitation.

I had a melt down the other night. Haven’t had one like that in a long time, but it just all started to close in. I had three projects with a tight deadline and I’d put off starting all three until the last minute. I was in the middle of transcribing a rush dictation and was going to spend the evening learning FrontPage 98 so I could design the web page I had to have up for review the next morning when Walt walked in and pointed out that Kismet opened the next night and the bios which are posted under the photos of the actors in the lobby had to be typed that night. So, I put aside the rush report and the web page and concentrated on the bios.

I’ve typed bios for this theatre company for about 10 years, I think. I have it down to a science now. I keep a master data base list of all of the actors who have ever performed for the company. When a new show is in the final stages of rehearsal, the stage manager gives everyone a copy of their previous bio, they make changes or updates, the new people write up new bios, and she gives the whole thing to me. It takes about 2 hours to make the updates to the master list, run a list of the current cast, and merge it with the form for the cards on which the bios are printed, and print them off.

I figured that since it was now after work hours, I’d put off the report until the next day, do the bios, then do the web page. No problem. Except that this year, for some reason known only to the stage manager, she hadn’t given the cast copies of their previous bios. Instead she had passed out sheets of paper and every single actor in the show wrote a new bio. So every single bio had to be retyped. While this isn’t a monumental project, it was more time consuming. And then I discovered that the bios were written in about a #1 pencil, on yellow paper and that someone (presumably the stage manager) with illegible handwriting had apparently interviewed several folks in the cast and had written the bios for them. The result: I couldn’t read a damn thing.

Part of it was the incandescent bulb in the office. Part of it was the handwriting. Part of it was the yellow paper. And part of it was my eyesight and my aging brain, which doesn’t retain stuff the way it used to. I was trying to type 40 brand new bios and could not just put a sheet of paper up and read off of it. I would have to pick each piece of paper up, read two words, put the page down, type the two words and then do it all over again. It was very slow going. One particularly bad bio was for a guy who almost never changes his bio, but this one was new and I couldn’t read it at all. It took me over half an hour to do this one paragraph. And I was acutely aware of how the time was passing and how I couldn’t go to bed before I’d finished the web page design.

Walt was at the theatre and came home around 11 p.m. By this time I’d been at the bio project for over five hours and he found me here crying, screaming, and pulling at my hair. I can’t remember the last time I had such a fit. I felt totally out of control and it was all compounded by knowing that I’d created this situation by putting things off till the last minute. Walt, bless him, took the most illegible of the remaining bios, took them upstairs to his computer, typed them, and e-mailed them to me (modern technology is so weird sometimes!).

I did manage to get everything finished and then had to do the web page. By this time I was completely exhausted, so I went to sleep around 2 a.m. and got up at 4. I now had about 3 hours to get the web page finished and posted somewhere. This was a project I should have done over the weekend, but I had decided to use FrontPage 98, which came with the new computer. I thought I could do a very jazzy web site using FP’s “themes” function, which is not a feature of FP97, the program I’ve been using all along.

The problem was that I couldn’t figure out how to use it. I could get the theme to appear on the screen, but couldn’t edit the various elements. I found FP98's help screen unintuitive and had been struggling with it for a couple of days. I finally went and bought FP98 for Dummies and was starting to get the hang of it, but it still wasn’t coming along the way I wanted and I had now decided to just do a more simple design, but I was totally uninspired. Everything I tried looked so plain vanilla that I couldn’t justify the money I was charging this company to design a web page. I finally did some surfing and got some ideas that got the creative juices flowing and I put something together that seems to be working. At least the company says the design is “perfect” and they think I’m wonderful.

After all this emotional upheaval, I had an IM chat with Peggy and was telling her about my angst and how upset I was feeling about it all. She had a simple quesiton: “Have you taken a walk?” My personal trainer was still on the job from half a globe away. I realized that it was already Thursday and I hadn’t taken a walk all week.

So, when we finished our chat, I decided to take an hour off and go for a walk. I was amazed at what a difference it made. The weather was wonderful and the city has exploded with fall color. I took along the camera to take pictures.  I walked two blocks to the theatre to check out the tree that was planted in David’s memory and then walked through the park, across an overpass, and onto the greenbelt. The greenbelt is an area that was designed around one large housing development. Lots of green, bike paths, playgrounds, etc. In the nearly 30 years we’ve lived here, I have never walked on the greenbelt. It was absolutely gorgeous.

I saw parts of Davis I’ve never seen--and all within minutes of our house. I walked for about an hour, snapping photos and just thinking about all sorts of things. It was a wonderful way to clear my head and get the creative juices flowing again. By the time I got home, I was feeling much more in control and much better able to handle things. I’d also walked for an hour, so kept my promise to myself to keep up the walking program.

That personal trainer of mine is a pretty smart cookie.

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created 11/5/00 by Bev Sykes